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The Summer Of Hammers And Angels

The Summer Of Hammers And Angels

5.0 2
by Shannon Wiersbitzky

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Most folks have never seen an angel.
I know, because I've asked them.
I asked Miss Martha at the post office.
"Maybe someday, Delia, God willing."
God does a lot of willing in Tucker's Ferry, West Virginia.

Delia's summer is getting off to a terrible start. First, an inspector shows up at the house and threatens to condemn it. Then lightning strikes,


Most folks have never seen an angel.
I know, because I've asked them.
I asked Miss Martha at the post office.
"Maybe someday, Delia, God willing."
God does a lot of willing in Tucker's Ferry, West Virginia.

Delia's summer is getting off to a terrible start. First, an inspector shows up at the house and threatens to condemn it. Then lightning strikes, literally, and Mama ends up in the hospital. To make matters even worse, with no other family to speak of, Delia is forced to move in with her nemesis, Tommy "as-dense-as-a-stump" Parker.

Not one to sit around doing nothing, Delia huddles with her best friend, Mae, and reluctantly recruits Tommy, to help. The three of them resolve to tackle the long list of repairs, one by one. But Delia quickly discovers that it takes more than energy and willingness to handle some problems. When things go from bad to worse, Delia has to take another tack, one that starts with admitting she just can't do what needs to be done without a lot more help.

The Summer of Hammers and Angels is the story of an amazing summer in a girl's life, a summer of surprises and challenges, of shocks and recovery, of discoveries and friendship, and of loneliness and community.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Angels in the form of members of the First Congregational Church of Christ come to Delia Burns' rescue after lightning strikes her house, leaving her mother in a coma and Delia trying to do the long list of repairs left by the inspector who has condemned her home.

Set in Tucker's Ferry, W.V., this idealized picture of small-town cooperation recalls a simpler time. There are no electronic devices beyond the television in the corner of her mother's hospital room and no chain stores with computerized inventories. There is also little supervision of the children: hard-working, resourceful Delia, her flighty friend, Mae, and mean Tommy Parker, who turns out to be both helpful and handy with tools. Delia's age is never given, but the first-person narration reflects her innocence and naïveté. Thanks to summer Bible camp she knows something about religion. She wonders about the efficacy of prayer and the existence of angels. She hasn't gone regularly to church like the Parkers, neighbors who take her in after the lightning strike, but her conversion is swift. After two weeks of porch carpentry, ivy-pulling and screen-mending, she's ready to ask for help, which arrives in true feel-good fashion.

The heartwarming conclusion is an unlikely miracle, but it is entirely in keeping with the flavor of this nostalgic story, which will leave readers hungry for fried chicken and Coke from glass bottles. (Fiction. 9-13)

Publishers Weekly
Wiersbitzky explores themes of family, home, and what it means to be good neighbors in small-town Tucker's Ferry, W. Va., through the observant eyes of feisty narrator Delia. On one awful summer day, an inspector threatens to condemn Delia and her mother's ramshackle house unless adequate repairs are made within the month, and that night lightning strikes Delia's mother, putting her in a coma. The Parker family takes Delia in, forcing her to live with classmate Tommy, who torments her by proclaiming that he'll run her underwear up the school flagpole. Delia valiantly attempts to address the inspector's repair list on her own, following her mother's motto: "Only way to get what you want is through hard work." While pride keeps her from sharing with adults the repair list and deadline, she accepts help from her friend Mae and even Tommy, welcoming the work as a distraction from her mother's injury. Attending worship services with the Parkers, Delia gains a new understanding of church and prayer, finally responding to the community's support by asking for help. Down-to-earth life struggles combine with inspiring generosity of spirit in this uplifting debut. Ages 10�up. (July)
Children's Literature - Amanda Ledbetter
Delia and her Mama live in a run-down house in Tucker's Ferry, West Virginia. When the house fails a building inspection, young Delia and her mother are left with a list of repairs to be made to avoid a condemnation on their house. Matters become more serious when Mama is struck by lightning and hospitalized. Resourceful Delia does not let the set-back slow her down. First, she attempts the repairs with her best friend Mae and her neighbor Tommy. However, as the children realize the magnitude of the list, Delia partners with her friends and neighbors, who she sees as angels, to make the needed repairs and bring Mama home to a problem solved. This sweet story is one of overcoming obstacles, looking past fear and prejudice, making friends, and learning how powerful teamwork can be. The tale reads quickly and combines plot movement with character development to create a fluid story that readers of all ages can enjoy. Reviewer: Amanda Ledbetter
School Library Journal
Gr 4�6—Tucker's Ferry, WV, circa the mid- to late-20th century, has the expected cast of characters: Old Red, the curmudgeonly old man who sicces his dog on anyone who tries to enter his beautifully landscaped yard; Miss Martha, the best fried chicken maker in town and all-round do-gooder,; Tommy Parker, the boy next door who is a pest but turns out to be a pretty nice guy; and Delia, the only child of a single mother who works as a waitress and barely manages to eke out a living. Delia has her share of problems. Not only has a state inspector informed her mother that their house will soon be condemned, and she may have to be put in foster care, but then during a thunderstorm, the house is struck by lightning, the roof is ruined, and her mother ends up in a coma. Delia has to move in with the Parkers, the parents of Tommy, her nemesis. She takes it upon herself to fix the house, but the problems are bigger than she can handle. While the town pulling together to help her and her mother is an expected, and perhaps somewhat cliché ending, Delia trying to deal with problems that are bigger than any child should have to face is well done.—Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.36(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Shannon Wiersbitzky was born in North Dakota, but grew up in West Virginia, Florida, and Minnesota before her parents finally settled down in Pennsylvania. She graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Economics and International Studies and has an M.B.A. from Duke University. Shannon currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Andreas, a native of Germany whom she met in college, and her two sons, Ryan and Alexander. This is her first novel.

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Summer of Hammers and Angels 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is my favorite book of all times!!
WildlifeRehabber More than 1 year ago
The Summer Of Hammers And Angels is a well written, wonderful, heart warming story. It left me wanting fried chicken, more books from Shannon, and a neighborhood like Delia's. It is a terrific book for adults and teens alike. I bought copies for my sisters and nieces, and they loved the book too. I highly recommend this book.